Healthy Habits Are In Motion!

For Immediate Release

Providing healthy, active transportation incentives for kids using RFID technology

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – September 1, 2009 – When Seward Montessori School kids walk or ride their bikes to school this fall, they will be participating in an incentives program which uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to record and report the number of times that they arrive by foot or pedal-power. The program, which will be dedicated by Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak helps reduce traffic congestion, improves air quality, promotes a sense of neighborhood community and motivates kids to develop lifelong healthy habits.

“The technology is similar to the Fast Pass RFID system used on the High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes, only used to reduce car trips and motivate kids to use active transportation”, explains Dero Bike Racks co-owner Hans Steege, local manufacturer of the system. “Children have an RFID tag affixed to their helmet if biking, or on their backpack if walking. When kids arrive at school, the Freiker/Dero ZAP device recognizes the tag which is registered to a specific child with an audible beep and a flashing light. The solar powered, wifi-connected system, transmits the data securely to a website that tabulates the trips for each child. Schools will typically have some type of reward program in place that recognizes children for participating.”

Freiker (frequent + biker, rhymes with “hiker”), a non profit company based in Boulder, Colorado, pioneered the concept of using RFID technology and incentives to encourage kids to bike or walk to school. They currently have programs in 11 schools in 4 states. Steve Norman at Freiker says, “The Freiker/Dero ZAP system does the counting and the prizes provide the motivation”.

According to Ned Levine, Crest View Colorado Elementary School Principal, “Our bike racks are overflowing. Everybody at Crest View loves the Freiker program and the extra encouragement it provides to students to bike to school”.

The Dero Bike Rack Company, is located in the Seward neighborhood and manufactures the ZAP devices. Dero will be donating a ZAP system to the Seward Montessori School in order to kick start the program locally. Freiker distributes the systems to K-12 schools. Dero markets them to university and corporate campuses. 15% of all Dero sales from the ZAP system are donated to Freiker to further their efforts to get kids riding, providing measurable results and energizing the school community.

The system will be presented to the school and demonstrated at 7 am Wednesday, September 16th. Speakers from Freiker, Seward Montessori and Mayor RT Rybak will dedicate the system.

See pictures and video

Mark Skoine-Dero Bike Racks 612-359-0689

Steve Norman-Freiker 720-878-4503

Kathy Kurdelmeier –Seward Parent/Bike Advocate

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